By M Jahangir Hayat
LAHORE: As many as Rs4,000 each would be distributed among 25 lakh families affected by the lockdown due to COVID-19 for which Rs10 billion have been allocated. The Punjab government has also decided to waive off provincial taxes of Rs18 billion.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar while giving a briefing to the media after a special meeting at CM office, said that there are 530 confirmed corona patients in Punjab out of which 207 are from DG Khan, 4 are from Mandi Bahauddin, 75 are from Multan, one is from Narowal, 119 are from Lahore, one is from Rahim Yar Khan, 51 are from Gujrat, two are from Sargodha, 10 are from Gujranwala, one is from Attock, 19 are from Jhelum, one is from Bahawalnagar, 15 are from Rawalpindi, two are from Mianwali, nine are from Faisalabad, two are from Nankana Sahib and one patient of the corona belongs to Khushab, whereas 82 new corona patients have been reported in the province from the last day.
The Chief Minister said that employment of a large number of people have been affected by coronavirus especially daily wagers and labour class is facing financial difficulties. The government is fully aware of their problems and will not let them alone in their time of trial. He said that Punjab government is standing beside them. The government has decided that financial aid of Rs. 4000 per family will be given to 25 lakh families with Rs10 billion through the province.
This financial aid will be other than the relief package announced by the federal government, he added. The chief minister said doctors and health professional are our heroes in the ongoing war against coronavirus and we salute their services. The government will give one-month additional salary as a special bonus to those doctors and health professional who are working in corona wards.
This is not a payment of their services but recognition of their services by the Punjab government. Punjab government will give Shohada package to those officials, doctors and health professionals who embraced martyrdom during an ongoing war against corona. Usman Buzdar said that first time in the history government, keeping in view the pandemic, under section 401 of Pakistan Penal Code, has decided to suspend 90-day imprisonment of the prisoners in Punjab prisons.
Approximately 3100 prisoners will get benefit from this decision. However, prisoners involved in heinous and serious crimes will not get benefit from this decision. Recommendations have been prepared in connection with under trail prisoners and the same will soon be sent to the Federal Government.
“Punjab is the only province where Punjab Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Ordinance 2020 has been enforced which facilitate administration and Health Department authority to implement measures taken for controlling coronavirus beside providing them legal protection,” he said.
In response to a question, the chief minister said the government will also review package for the journalists and will take necessary measures for solving their problems. He said that Personal Protection Equipment is available according to the need for the staff providing treatment to the corona patients, there is nothing to be worried about. He said that this is not a curfew only some department have been closed partially.
Action against those who violated section 144 is also being monitored. Provincial minister Finance Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht in a response to a question said that government will bring such development projects of worth 100 billion rupees in the next budget which provide job opportunities to the maximum people. He said that under the Punjab government programme, financial aid can get by filling a simple online form. Financial aid will be transfer after checking the information already available in the database.
Provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat, Provincial Information Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary Urban Services, Finance Secretary, Information Secretary and other concerned officials were present on this occasion.